I really didn’t think I would be that affected by Steve Job’s passing, but it turns out I was wrong.
When I first got interested in computers it was 1979; I saw an Apple II in school and I *knew* I had to learn how to make it do amazing things. That was it, I was hooked; and it was an Apple product. When I got my first computer, a Heath/Zenith Z-90 running CP/M computer and BASIC-80, my first mission was to make it do all the things the Apple II could do; that shows just how much of an impression the Apple II made on me. (Thanks Steve)
The CP/M computer was eventually replaced by a MS-DOS based Zenith Z-248 and I happily learned everything I could about programming C/C++, working with MS-DOS, BIOS, and interrupts. The next big change came with the release of the Macintosh II, an amazingly powerful computer for its day and the first color Macintosh. At the time, I lived in a studio apartment near campus, and my future college-roommate was lugging his Mac+ across campus on for our weekend programming adventures; when I decided to get a Mac II, I asked him if he wanted to share rent on a slightly larger apartment, not knowing where he was going to find the money, he told me, “If you get the Mac II, I’ll find a way to pay my share of the rent!!!” I did. He did. And so I started to really learn who to programming for the Mac.
My first real foray into object-oriented programming was with MacApp and Object Pascal (excuse me while I recover from the nostalgia). That was 1990, yet the experience has served my admirably in my career, for the last 20+ years. Once again, a pivotal moment in my life, and Apple was at the center. (Thanks Steve)
While the Mac faded from the business mainstream, I went back to programming under MS-DOS, and then Win32, and eventually .NET, and .NET Compact Framework (for Windows Mobile). The summer of 2008 found me programming Windows Mobile in virtual machines on a 17″ MacBook Pro. I was an early mobile programmer, I had a Mac, and I was all set for the iPhone SDK (I just didn’t know it yet). When the first iPhone project came up, I quick called my old college roommate, the same one who had lugged his Mac+ across the University campus every weekend, and I asked him if he could give me a primer on Objective-C. One weekend and a couple of beers later and I was all set: my future was set as a mobile programmer working with the iPhoneOS (now called iOS). This was another pivotal moment in my life and my career, and Apple was at the center. (Thanks Steve)
So now, it’s 2011, I am full-time committed to iOS development, I have a handful of iPhones, an iPad, a couple of MacBookPros, my 15-year old son prefers working on his MacBook to using the Windows computer his school provides for him, I’m sitting in front of a gorgeous 27-inch iMac which I love to use, I’m working on a MapKit project. Oh, did I mention that my brother and both parents dumped their PCs in favor of Macs, and they all have iPhones as well? While I wasn’t responsible for the switch, they are all really, really happy with their iPhones. And that makes me happy, so … thanks Steve.
Looking back at the last 35-years, I guess I shouldn’t feel so surprised that Steve’s loss affects me so personally. I think the biggest tragedy is that Steve wasn’t close to finishing making his contribution the world; while Steve Jobs lost his life, the whole world has lost him. What better tribute can be said than to recognize the that impact Steve Jobs has had; the impact he has had on me, on my family, on technology, and on the world.
I hope, despite our collective loss, that we can remember Steve Job for everything he did and everything he stood for; I hope Steve will be an inspiration to many present and future entrepreneurs, technologists, and visionaries. And I hope, I’ll be a little more inspired myself every time I think of Steve and his “magical” visions.